Cut flowers from garden plants in the early morning. Immediately place the stems of the flowers in a bucket of room temperature water. Don’t wait. Take a bucket to the garden with you and immerse the flower stalks as you cut.
Unwrap purchased flowers if you buy them rather than grow them and cut one inch from the bottom of each stem while holding it under running water –preferably cool. If you cut flowers dry, especially roses, they tend to get air bubbles in the stems, which impede the flow of water and food. Also, cut off any leaves that fall below the water line in the vase.
Fill a vase with water at room temperature and add a commercial floral preservative to the water. Most purchased flowers come with a packet of preservative. A homemade version of floral preservative includes a small amount of sugar, bleach and lemon juice. Sugar acts as a food for the flowers; lemon juice allows the food to travel up the stem faster and more efficiently and bleach keeps the water clear and clean.
Place the vase with flowers in indirect sunlight. Flowers stay fresh longer in a cool room than in a warm one.
Every two or three days, remove the flowers from the vase. Change the water and add additional floral preservative. Cut an inch from the bottom of each stalk before returning the flowers to the vase. Remove any wilted blooms.